Last week I caught up with Larry Nance Jr whilst he was in Las Vegas with the Los Angeles Lakers for two pre-season games against the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.
Larry and I spoke about what he’s been working on in the off-season, the differences between the Luke Walton and Byron Scott coaching regimes, playing the five a bit this season, Las Vegas’ NBA credentials and more.
I’m here with Larry Nance Jr, Larry after all the Mountain West wars you’ve been through you’re back here in Vegas, second year guy in the NBA now. What’s the biggest difference between year one and year two?
Confidence. You come into the league as a rookie and you don’t necessarily know where you sit in terms of, you know, am I the first option, second option, third option? But, coming in the second year you’re more comfortable with where you stand and you’re just more confident in yourself.
Luke Walton has come in to take over the head coach job. What’s the biggest difference between tbe last coaching staff and this coaching staff?
I would say the pace. You know, last year we kind of played a walk-it-up style type game and this year we’re trying to go out and run, move the ball and play fast. Anytime you can get out and run, that’s a fun way to play.
What’s been the biggest difference in your game? What extra have the coaches asked you to do this season in comparison to last season?
It all goes back to confidence. You know, I worked on my jumper all the off-season and really tried to make that a knock down shot for me, mid-range and three. That’s definitely the biggest thing they’re trying to get to my head is ‘when you can shoot, have confidence because you know you can make it.’
In college you played a little center. Larry Shyatt had you playing a whole lot of stuff but you were noted for your very good defense. On this team, there might be some experimenting with you at the five, how is that going to work out?
You know I pride myself in defensive versatility. In this league, you play the position you can guard and I plan on being able to guard the three, four and five and occasionally maybe switch on to a two or a one in a ball screen and be able to handle that as well. So, I invite the challenge and am really looking forward to it.
Gotcha. And last but not least, you’re in Vegas… Do you think an NBA team could make it out here full time?
I think it’ll be tough, to be honest with you. It’ll be tough to get a solid home crowd with so many people coming in and out. But they’ve got a terrific venue for it, T-Mobile Arena is awesome, but I think it could be done.
Thank you very much, appreciate it.